Top tips to create a sense of space

Having the opportunity to travel through Europe means inevitably you will encounter European-sized rooms. Hotel rooms, Airbnb, guest houses – they can be very small.

High density living means space is at a premium and finding ways to create a sense of space from your design and styling choices is important. There are a few ways in which you can trick your eye into thinking the space is bigger than it is.

We’ve renovated lots of inner-city apartments in Sydney, and first we consider the purpose of the room and then plan to make sure the key functional requirements are met.

For a bedroom we need to fit a bed, bedside tables and a wardrobe at a minimum. At this planning phase we think about the proportions of the items but also the scale of those items relative to each other.

By decluttering a space and then considering the scale of your furnishings (and we don’t mean you need to have teeny-tiny furniture) you can make a space feel bigger. Scale includes your soft furnishings, so if you have a small bedroom don’t go cluttering the bed with over-sized cushions or install heavy gathered curtains. Keep your furniture selection simple and sleek.

Furniture with raised legs will make the space feel larger, so in a bedroom avoid chunky side tables that eat-up too much floor space. Window furnishings need to be light and bright. We’ve used shutters in many places because they provide privacy, but you can adjust them for the light, and they don’t impinge on the room’s footprint.

We love using large mirrors that reflect light into the space, and positioning them to bring reflections from outdoors to add depth to the room. When you’re planning the position of a mirror, walk through the space and consider all the angles of the reflection.

You don’t want to inadvertently bring into your room the reflection of a neighbouring solid-brick wall.

Your colour palette will also help to create space. We commonly opted for vivid white walls to optimise light and space, then have fun with the soft furnishings to bring in colour and style. There are so many whites to choose from, however for us, vivid white provides the best light reflection for the room. In addition, white walls with white ceilings will blur the boundary between them, making the ceiling seem higher.

Also consider this for your flooring, opting for lighter-coloured carpet or floorboards to reduce the sense of boundaries in the room. For your furnishings aim to keep your foundation items simple and in light hues, bringing in interest via accent pieces and wall-art, but overall keep it simple and remove clutter.

Resist the urge to over-style a small room.

One of the most beautiful small rooms we stayed in while in Mykonos understood so well how to do this.

Using white walls and polished concrete floors, they relied on the view as the hero and kept everything else simple and clean, with one piece of art, a few simple styling items and minimal cushions on the bed.


This article was written and originally appeared on


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